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I Love the Spring

I love spring - with it comes renewal.  
Leaf buds swell rapidly in just a matter of days. Fat, plump buds soon break into leaf with the freshness and softness not seen for nearly 365 days.  It can be a matter of only a few days or a few short weeks before the elements toughen the leaves and the magic at its peak is past.

Those few weeks, days, even hours however are worth the wait. It reminds me a little of an aussie beer commercial where those entering the water come  out new again.  Springs does this to your garden and the plants within it!

Non gardeners tend to look for plants which look good year round, it’s a question I always get asked. Now I love structure and permanence as part of my garden, it forms the backbone of it.  But I truly love the magic and anticipation of the first fully open leaf on my Japanese maple at the back door, full flower of my quince and Nashi trees in the orchard, the first rose bloom to form of the season.  All moments which last but a day or two at best but I will gladly wait another 350 days to see again.  

In the Golden Plains we are blessed with many keen gardeners and many beautiful gardens in many different styles to suit all tastes.  In October we will play host to two great gardens showcased in the Open Garden Scheme.  Both in Teesdale they are well worth a visit, so look to next month’s article for more info.

Between now and then, prepare your vegie garden in anticipation of the big spring plant up and unless you are prepared to protect from cold nights etc, wait until October before planting your seeds and seedlings.  Hardware stores are full of vegie seedlings eager for you to purchase, kill and come back and replant a second time.  Be patient and you will have far more success.

Keep on top of weeds in coming weeks, killing them before they set seed, and ad to next year’s woes. If you struggle with soursob, a herbicide spray now, whilst it is flowering, will set it back far more than applying earlier.

Think now about how you would like to use your garden over the warmer months for entertaining friends and family. Picture the things you would like to change, build, create and start now.  In a few weeks, the BBQ will be out again, friends will be over and you will want to be enjoying the great outdoors more and working in them less.

Incorporate the garden into your entertaining with some feature plants which draw the eye. This can be done is several ways.

Mass plant a long flowering summer perennial such as Gaura (Butterfly bush), Salvia or Sedum Matrona. When planted in larger numbers they really draw the eye.  The scale of your block and garden will dictate how many you use, 5-7 in a residential backyard 20-50 in larger rural settings.  In a native garden this may be achieved with Kangaroo paws or native grasses. If using Kangaroo paws the taller growing varieties are easier to grow in our climate.  Stay away from the miniature types as they are not hardy.

Use architectural foliage plants as a feature, even light them up at night with a spot light. Larger growing succulents like Aloes, slow growing bottle trees and cold tolerant palms can achieve this effect. A grouping of lemon scented gums will look great in years to come.

Sculpt plants by clipping into domes, cones, waves and other interesting shapes.  This can make rather nondescript plants exciting and a real feature. You will have seen this with English box but there many other plants which respond well to sculpting.  Most plants which can be hedged can be sculptured to add appeal to your garden.

Enjoy the Spring and all it has to offer  as it passes all too quickly.


Chris Hose